Candid, not Candied

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Day 14 :: It's time we teach our daughters to put themselves first

Right from childhood, a girl child especially, is given a set of instructions; those which are never to be forgotten in life. Things like how to sit properly to how to cook to find the road to your man's heart. The do's and don'ts end up defining a girl's life. Did I say defining? No, it's more like dictating. As little minds, we gulp down these bitter values without further questioning.

As and how we grow up and see more and more of life, we experience these values being tested time and again. You often find yourself at crossroads when making a choice between what is right and what was taught.

A girl is taught to say yes to everything. No need to apply your mind, just say a yes. Even if it is against your wishes/ principles, doesn't matter. What matters is you say a yes, and make the other person happy. In short, never say no, even if it causes you displeasure/ pain/ hurt. You are taught to put the other person as a priority. Be it your parents, husband, children, in laws - you are at their mercy. As long as you nod your head to their wishes and demands, you are accepted. Try saying a firm NO, and you are blasphemous, insulting, disrespectful, and uncouth. You have no patience, intolerant, stubborn, have a loathesome mind, and disgusting even.

What I am trying to say here is, girls are expected to be the softer version of the human species. God forbid, if they are not, they are often asked, told, forced to compromise on their basic nature and qualities. Quoting my own example, I get angry soon, have a little less patience than the "ideal level", and sometimes, I don't see reason. These vices of mine have been rearing it's ugly head since childhood. I have been told repeatedly that I should bottle them because the world is not such a kind place to accept a woman who is impatient and unreasonable!

I would if I could. But sadly, it is my nature and not much can be done to change it. Rather, I don't want to change it. Not now. And certainly not for the sake of people who cannot take me as I am.

How many us have really followed our heart? We have, for more than once, bandaged our wishes and sealed them tight in a box, never to be opened again. Our minds dare to visit them, but never brought on our lips. Is it wrong to wish for something and try to achieve it? What will your in laws say? or your husband will certainly not approve of that. These sentences have murdered many dreams that were not even dreamt of properly!

The best quality a girl could have is to give in. The more easily she does it, the better. Obviously it speaks volumes about your upbringing. Under the pretext of "respecting elders" and being "cultured" one has to constantly shush the inner voice that is screaming within you. It continues to sting and hurt but all you do is choose to keep quiet because you know what humongous storm transpires later.

I remember my maternal aut telling me about the "life lesson" my grandma gave to her. It was about our humble tongue, who being soft, is vulnerable to being bitten by 32 teeth. Yet, the tongue takes care that she doesn't. A girl, especially after marriage, is expected to be like that tongue. Always being careful of her words and actions. Always soft, kind and taking care that she doesn't anger anyone?

I have a different interpretation of the same example. I think the tongue is a very clever thing. Even amidst 32 teeth, she says what she wants to say, nimbly, fearlessly and yet takes care that not one of those vicious teeth hurt her. Why can't we be like her then?

It's time to teach our daughters that their first priority are themselves. It's time to tell them that saying NO when you mean it is not wrong. Doing what your heart tells to do or say is not looked down upon, as long as you weigh what you want to say. It's time to tell them that it is ok to make mistakes, because they are humans. It's time to teach them to protect themselves from getting hurt time and again for not speaking their minds. It's time to say You needn't be sorry for something that happened which was out of your control. It's time to make them understand that when you don't believe in something and communicate the same, you are not disrespecting anyone but being your own independent self!

I have a daughter and I am making this my mission to tell her that she is just as important as is the rest of the world.

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